1/24/97 -- 12:25 PM

Corporate Espionage,0278

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Johnson & Johnson and Boehringer Mannheim Corp. - rivals in the business of blood-sugar monitors - said today they have settled their corporate spying lawsuits against each other.

The two companies released a joint statement saying the terms of the out-of-court settlement were being kept secret.

Boehringer sued J&J; in June, alleging employees of its Lifescan Inc. subsidiary spied on Boehringer for 18 months ending in March 1994 and had stolen a prototype of a blood sugar monitor in Europe as well as confidential documents.

Boehringer filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, the company's headquarters city.

The suit said that the culture of spying was so ingrained at California-based Lifescan that executives handed out ``Inspector Clouseau'' and ``Columbo'' awards to workers who got the best information.

Lifescan countersued in September. It accusing Boehringer of hiring detectives to obtain secrets and having workers pose as potential customers to get information on Lifescan's blood-sugar monitors. It said Boehringer formed a ``Lifescan Competitive Kill Team'' that hired private detectives to obtain secrets.

Lifescan conceded it had given out the awards in question and that an employee, Nourredine Akli, had obtained confidential documents about Boehringer's Accu-Chek Easy glucose meter.

Boehringer admitted some of Lifescan's counterclaims, but said Lifescan has confused legal and illegal intelligence gathering.

Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.